Friday, July 25, 2008

The solution for adversity

Chances are, whatever you and I are struggling with, it is nothing compared to what Christ faced on Calvary. And yet in Luke chapters 22 and 23, we have a perfect example of how to face adversity--no matter how unusual or ordinary the situation.

The first line of action is private prayer. We call it "God Time" in our house, and every day each person has their own "alone" time. In Luke 22:42-44, Jesus prayed in the garden. He didn't want to suffer, and certainly not to death. He knew that was where it was all leading, though; so He prayed. He knew that if there was another way, the Father would show Him. As He prayed through, God impressed upon Him that there was no alternative. Jesus responded with complete acceptance and submission to the Father's will.

How impatient we become with God! I've been known to become like a child--although not in the Biblical sense--more like a pouty, petulant child, just because God didn't conform to my will when I approached Him in prayer. "Why aren't You doing this for me God? What's taking so long? Don't You want to help me?" God is teaching me that when my prayers aren't answered, it is often because He doesn't agree with my request. It shows in me a lack of maturity in knowing the Father and knowing His will. For if we ask anything in His name, it will be given.

The second part of the solution is our focus on God, especially when we are not alone. When Jesus wasn't alone in prayer, He was always focused entirely on the Father. In Luke 23:35, 37, and 39, Jesus was mocked. Three times, by three different people. And yet His only response was "Father, forgive them. They don't understand." He didn't even answer His mockers directly. He just kept His focus on the Father.

How quick I am to let others' comments "get to me". And then I complain to God that I don't feel His presence or whine that He isn't helping me.

Lord, open my eyes in the ordinary ups and downs of my day. Cause me to see that I must approach life the way Jesus did. Show me that time spent alone with You is invaluable if I am to know You more. Teach me that by staying in Your Spirit at all times, I will overcome.

Friday, July 11, 2008

In the beginning...

Of this blog, that is.

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while, as I have written some devotionals and find it very worthwhile for myself and for those who have been touched through them. I started keeping a journal a while back to write down what I thought God was impressing upon me through my routine reading of the scriptures. I felt that it might be a good thing to be able to share with others, and a blog was born!

The scripture I was studying yesterday is so appropriate to begin with, and I believe it was out of this scripture that God birthed the name for this blog.

In Luke 21:34, Jesus says, "But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the [a]giddiness and headache and [b]nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the [c]business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose..." (Amplified Bible)

It is interesting that our downfall--being overburdened and depressed--can come from such extremes as the giddiness of self indulgence to the worries of this life! What are the "cares" of daily life?

I often find myself in the middle of something (a project, house-cleaning, etc.) when an interruption (children, phone, etc.) comes that irritates me. When I snap or grouchily leave what I was doing to take care of the interruption, I have allowed the cares of this life to take over. The enemy is overjoyed, because whatever I was wrapped up in caused me to lose sight of what is really important!

At the other end of the spectrum is self-indulgence. While I have not experienced physical drunkenness since my pre-Christian days, there are times when I experience the nausea of self-indulgence. It usually has to do with spending money. Buying things we don't need. There was a time in my life where my husband and I used and abused credit. It was a sickening feeling--one that often led to tears--to spend and realize later that we didn't actually have the money to pay. If you are drowning in debt--there is hope! I testify to God's love and grace in helping us to overcome many selfish desires which led to impulse spending. He has brought us to the place where our only debt is the mortgage on our home.

Are you wrapped up in the giddiness or the nausea of self-indugence? What are the cares in your life?


Lord, by the Power of Your Spirit, break the cycle of selfish pursuits. May I see those temptations to spend money unnecessarily as the hand of the enemy trying to gain a grip on my life. Open the eyes of my spirit.

By Your Spirit working within me, I will respond appropriately to interruptions in "my" agenda. May I see Your hand in those moments pulling my focus back to where it belongs. Father, forgive me for those times when I did not respond. I want my children, husband, and others to see You. Make me a pure vessel that You can use.

In the Name of Jesus, and for the sake of Your Kingdom,
Amen. So be it.